Yes it is, along with proper room placement and room tuning.
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You need to include cables, equipment support, power and your listening room in your definition of "all the expensive things out there". A great amp starved for juice in a room with standing waves coupled to a vibrating floor simply stops being a great amp. The same goes for your other equipment categories.
In my book, "tuning" only starts once all the basics are in place, whereby "tuning" means going over all the small details again rather than tuning in the sense of tuning a piano.
Fine-tuning a room and system can be very interesting (and educational) and can often be had for reasonable amounts of money or no money at all. Experimenting with speaker placement, for example, typically only costs time.
I would guess it comes as no surprise to a lot of you that I believe tuning is at least 50% of the success of a system. All the great equipment in the world will be only as good as the room, speaker placement, isolation, power supply and cabling. A great example is in my system. Ive had the luxury of complete symmetry in my system for the past five months (sense the Bubble Wrap) and have had no desire to mess with anything. Over Christmas I rented a cable burner to burn all my cables, this made some good changes, but also altered the ultimate balance of my system. I again found myself trying to tweak the system back to perfection. Last week-end my friend was over and we started moving speakers, 1/16th of an inch at a time. Now the magic is gone! My system has gone from wow to nice over a few fractions of an inch. I have yet to find the spot again. So in conclusion, its the small stuff, even with less expensive equipment. If the equipment is cutiing edge the small stuff is even more important. I agree that you must first have a system that in general pleases you, then start the tweaking. If you want advise on where to start look at some of my posts or please write me, I love to help when I can.
Thank you Jadem6 I apreciate how considerate you are and how mature about my real expirience. For now I wont need any help but surely when I do I'll write back to you... Some people think I'm just messing around and make "funny"=insulting, remarks to see what they can get started but mature people like me don't follow *LOSERS*
I have to agree to a point with Jadem6.Maybe not 50% but more around 25%,this is really dependant on your system.My current home theater/2ch setup is not as my friends 2ch tube only rig.Spikes,sorbathane,and well broke in cables can seem like an entire component upgrade.1/16 of an inch seems a bit extreme but to each their own I guess.I don't know what the hell those other guys are talking about.